- We meet at Banzai Cliff at 15:15PM, and drive to the ending point (foot of the cliff near the Last Command Post of the Japanese army)According to the plan, we begin to trek from the top of the cliff, charge into the tangled juncle (boonie hat, MIL-SPEC-H-43577, mail ordered directly from U.S. Cavalry, USA, during Operation Desert Storm years; Gold-plated classic field watch and country walkers shoes from L.L.Bean), rocky slope, and crevasses, which the Japanese army used as an air-raid shelter. Here and there I identify the fragments of ceramic wares and beer bottles which are die-stamped Dai-Nippon Brewery Co. in alphabets and from right to left in Katakana characters, which are obviously the remnants of our Imperial Force's desperate war efforts to secure the absolute defense sphere in June and July 1944. Every time I find them, I join my hands in prayer. During this trek, I consistently search for the remains of our war dead (skeltons), thinking if I could find them I should bring them back to Tokyo and present to the Department of Veterans Affairs of the Ministry of Health of Japan, however, there seem no remaining bones on this route. Alan responds that they sent back to Tokyo all the bones as far as they could recover. At about 18:00, after 2-hour-hiking, we reach the starting point.
- Drop a Hyundai we rented there
- All drive in Alan's car to the top of Suicide Cliff
- Park that car at the top of the Cliff
- All hiking down to the ending point (near the Last Command)
- Two of us drive Hyundai to the top again
- Two drive two separate cars down from the top to the starting (ending point), while others waiting there
- We all drive two cars to his place at Mt.Tapochau, and enjoy dinner party with wine and salmon.
Akio: "I would ask you what is the most prevalent disease in Saipan-Tinian area?"After a very interesting conversation, we excuse ourselves before it gets too late. Raphael leads way to a fork in the middle of the mountainside, and after saying goodbye, I drive down with my family to the hotel very carefully, under the minimal influence of,,,. Humphrey Bogart would say,
Raphael: "Diabetes, one out of four Chamorro suffer from. The underlying cause is gene, in association with sugar abuse, especially into the bread here."
Alan: "After the end of WW2, the States provided sugar as supplement to increase the needed calorie to the people of the world. German people did not suffer from obesity and diabetes mellitus, but people of the southern islands did."
August 18 2008
"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship"
(in "Casablanca", Warner Brothers, 1942)
- Atomic bomb pits: There are two pits in a rectangular shape on the simply paved field, separated about 100 meters each other, for Little Boy photo-1, photo-2, (gun-method weapon to reach supercritical mass of uranium 235) loaded aboard the Enola Gay for Hiroshima and Fat Man (implosion-type weapon with a plutonium core) for Nagasaki. War is war, anyway, no words, here for me. We were beaten badly, really badly,,,After driving to the south, we fulfill the gas at the station in San Jose and return the car to the desk of the Dynasty Hotel. As the attendant of Avis complains that the gas is not full checking the car, I indicate her the receipt issued at the gas station, then she accepts the situation. My guess is that her boss dictates her to do so, especially to the good-natured Japanese, this must be routine tactics.
- Air Administration Building of the 1st Aerial Fleet (ichi-kou-kan in Japanese) of the Imperial Japanese Navy, in fact, a fleet of fighters, dive and torpedo bombers, WITHOUT aircraft carriers in this losing phase. It was under the auspices of Vice Admiral Kakuji Kakuta, killed in action in Tinian in August 1944, age 53. After making a salute straight and stiff, we enter the building. The backbone appears staunch, but penetrating damages from the top to the bottom of the building are obvious, probably made by naval bombardment by US battleships or aerial bombing. Battle damage assessment (BDA) reveals damages inflicted by aerial bombardment campaign appear far more effective in 1944 than in "Operation Rolling Thunder/Linebacker II".
- Air raid shelters in Ushi air field service apron
- Air Operations Building of the Imperial Japanese Navy, which I enter after a salute. Crew must be lining up in rows and columns on the front field, listening to the order. This is the operation center of specific military actions.
- Runway Able (satellite image on Google Earth). This is one of not two, not three, but four (!) runways, parallelly built in the east-west direction, each measuring 2,600 m long and 60 m wide, for B29 Superfortress. Outrageous! , they built four long runways in a short period, using hastily landed construction machines, e.g., many bulldozers. We were beaten badly, quite badly, naively depending on spiritual strength (Faith) not on science and technology (Force). Or, our leaders knew that, but they could do nothing facing poverty (world-wide depression protracted after the Wall Street Crash of 1929) and have-nots state (colonialism).
My comment: Japanese samurai pilots never took hostage of the civilian people, e.g., women and children, in order to protect themselves, devoting only their body and soul to their homeland, and never intensionally attacked civilian facilities, although some collatellal damages are unavoidable in military actions as usual. Kamikaze attack was pure military action sparked on the vast Pacific ocean. In this context, they were neither coward, nor terrorists. The Great Empire of Japan challenged boldly the United States of America with Combined Fleet, and she was badly beaten,,, really badly.
After purchasing some bread at the shop at the thin-trading arcade of the hotel, we go to Taga Beach and Tachogna Beach, the most beautiful and clearest beach as far as I know, beating those of Saipan and Guam. Fishes are dense, and we feel just like swimming in an aquarium. Marvellous! We retreat from the beach, and change clothes at the hotel. We again request the shuttle car to the airport, in fact there is no other method of transportation, board the similar Piper at 16:00PM, and depart Tinian, looking down the Runway Able from the above. We safely land the Saipan International Airport, and pay the fee of the parking lot (cost: $8). On the way back to the hotel, I fulfill the gas once again at Shell station (cost: $18.64), and park the car at the lot of the hotel, keeping the key in the driver's drawer, and autolock, as the attendant at the desk of Hertz indicated. We choose the dinner at the Italian restaurant at Hyatt Regency, Giovanni's, with wine (cost: total $244 for three). Is this dolce vita as the Italian loves? I would say Hyatt is far higher class and more decent than Fiesta Resort and Spa.
"I never apologize!"
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Anglo-Irish playwright, critic
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DISCLAIMER: This post/trip is not financially supported by the industry related to my current assignment to non-profit hospital. The views expressed here are those of the author Akio Hasegawa and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of any institutions in Japan. Citations of trade names do not constitute an endorsement of the products. Feedback is, as always, encouraged. Use the address DrHASEGAWA@aol.com for all correspondence regarding this column.